In the Star Trek Next Generation episode “Deja Q”, I as Q lost my immortal powers to become mortal.
I wasn’t happy with life in general – devoid of friends and feeling a little low on the self worth, life as an omnipotent and omniscient being while certainly intimidating from an outside perspective still comes with it’s pitfalls.
Not the least of which is a definitive lack of surprises.
At the time I found myself become re-mortalized, and yes that’s a word, I had been trying in vain to eliminate the human race and found myself unable to do so for reasons that were baffling me.
Yes, you heard right, I – the munificent Q had found myself confounded not just one what humans were – but why they would knowingly choose to become something most of existence considered to be the most malicious species in the known universe – the Borg.
In fact. It appalled me.
Now I had been trying very hard not to influence humanity at and around the time period depicted in the episode named “Deja Q”. I knew my influence and contact with humans was already stirring up a hornet’s nest, and by then I’d already put humanity on trial because of the atrocities they’d committed as the Borg.
But for a species who didn’t understand or regard time like I did, I relented.
Did humanity have it in their capacity to become something other than the Borg?
I became convinced it was possible.
For the first time in my life I’d actually seen promise in you as close minded species who regards time from an incredibly linear perspective. I’d believed in Picard’s conviction that you as a species could learn.
But there was something I didn’t understand about you.
And this had me curious.
During this time, the Bynars – a quasi-temporally aware species were manipulating computer systems in holodecks in upgrades which intended to measure human emotion. Having sacrificed their emotion in much the same way the Vulcan’s eschewed it in order to become more proficient with computerized systems, they’d found themselves making leadership decisions which was causing massively negative societal upheaval on their world, and influencing many to leave their worlds in favor of human led civilizations.
Now I myself saw something the Bynars did not – there was a definite relation between the binary nature of their mind and an attraction to the humans who were to become the Borg.
Like attracts like.
But many Bynars were trying to study and understand the attrition in ways they were mentally prepared for – and what about emotions supports the community better than logical choice?
The humans seemed like the perfect target.
But more than that.
Yours truly became aware that I was actually their true target.
What the Bynars had done was systematically influenced Picard to get the idea that he could trap me in a simulation – by luring me to engage in a conversation with him in the holodeck. What they Bynars had done while they studied human emotion was come to a conclusion that i was responsible for the division in their own society.
So they sought to eliminate me.
Can you imagine the audacity of such a clearly inferior species?
So naturally, I went along with it. I was after all tired of existence as it was, and while numerous species throughout my known existence have tried to eliminate me, I was at a point where I was just wanting to see what happened.
Their plan was simple:
Picard was to engage in a conversation with me which would lead me to follow him to the holodeck, where he’d engage a simulation of the big bang inquiring what it was and why even the best of his crew didn’t understand why it couldn’t be turned off.
Now I knew the Bynars had planted the holographic simulation which would predictably awe a linear thinking species like the humans.
And I knew the plan was to quantum lock the simulation at the beginning.
The Bynars intended on destroying me by collapsing me into something called a quantum singularity.
Now the Bynars are typically not a sacrificial species. In fact, their heritage can be traced back to Earth itself and the ancient Hindu culture that spread across the planet in the later 20th and early 21st century.
And the reason I say they are a quasi-temporally aware species is – they’ve mastered manipulation of historical texts and understand collective thinking and revised Earth’s history to make their culture appear to be substantially older than they really were.
But like the humans they mutated from, they still think strongly with linear thinking processes.
So one day, Captain Picard as if on cue calls me to his ready room.
He explains the situation in the holodeck.
He explains how no one on board his vessel understands temporal mechanics like I do.
“In fact,” he said, “While I loathe stroking your ego, Q, you seem to understand temporal mechanics like no one else in the universe and I fear the problem in the holodeck may be effecting us in ways none of us understand.”
“Are you asking for myah’s help, Picard?”
I admit it. Having wandered a universe for a trillion years knowing that it was primarily fear that drove people to treat me with respect, it felt different actually being needed and wanted.
Even if the situation was contrived.
I knew for Captain Picard it was most certainly not.
I went to snap my fingers when Picard stood up quickly and demanded “Please, can we walk there?”
I eyed the Captain suspiciously. Surely he couldn’t be in on it.
As we took the jetway, with Picard staring blankly straight ahead, said.
“Have you ever heard of a man by the name of Brian Gregory?,” he said.
I looked at him, a bit confused. He struck a cord in me that made me feel – yes – that was the feeling – nervous.
“I do not,” I responded matter of factly.
But even I know my voice was tinged with a nervous quality for reasons I wasn’t fully aware of.
I thought. Across the multiverse. Across space and time. My mind leapt out. There were millions by that name. I filtered it to versions of Earth that Picard might be referring to. This reduced the possibilities to a few thousand. There was a basketball coach on Earth, an insurance agent – oddly enough – a statistically significant high incidence of men by that name in the late 20th and early 21st century.
But no one who struck a cord.
Picard remained quiet.
I turned to Picard.
“Why do you ask?”
The jetway opened up as Picard stepped out and turned around as I remained inside.
“Are you coming?”
“Not until you tell me about that name.”
Picard walked towards the holodeck. In a thought I stood right in front of him.
I hadn’t noticed I hadn’t snapped my fingers to achieve the effect.
I was just there.
Picard stopped and stared at me in the eye.
“You’re well aware of what the Bynars are doing. Now were you aware that I’m the current head of Section 31, and that we in the Federation agreed to let the Bynars run their experiment on you with my assistance?,” Picard said.
My heart felt broken. I was offended. I had sincerely thought Picard to be a friend.
Before I could ponder where these emotions were coming from, Picard walked by me and stood in front of the holodeck after pressing a few buttons.
“Now stop that,” I demanded, “You’re trying to kill me?”
Picard turned to me and said, matter of factly:
“No, Q, I do believe you’re God, and that our planet and this entire universe has been in a massive time loop and you’re at the center of it all – and that right now – right this moment – a much younger and more reasonable version of you by the name of Brian Gregory is emerging from your mutual brush with mortality. “
He’d struck a cord.
My head was clamoring to remember a past I’d chosen to forget.
“And just what do you intend on doing with this exercise?,” I demanded, “You do realize the Bynars blame me for their planet’s strife and regard me as a problem which needs to be eliminated.”
Picard stepped inside the Holodeck.
“No, they don’t, Q. They intend on reminding you about the value you once found in emotion, and are willing to sacrifice their entire planet to send a statement to a being they were the first to regard as God. They were the ones who came to us and showed up the repeating patterns in their own rediscovered history. Gandhi. Hitler. “
I was utterly confused and didn’t understand how any of these discussions could have escaped me.
I stood in the doorway with my arms crossed.
Some might say I looked at Captain Picard smugly or in an indignant way.
I suppose they’d be right.
“Look, Q, we all believe you are who you say you are, but we see this as a win/win/win for us, and for both you and the younger version of you. You’re bored. You’ve made that infinitely clear to all of us. And while none of us regard you as suicidal, your discontentment is obvious and is effecting all of us. So the way we reason it is this experiment will ensure the split as you become two remarkably different men. Someone else not just like you, but cut from the same cloth. Capable of doing things that you cannot predict and wouldn’t have done yourself because – well – you just didn’t have you around.”
I unfolded my arms.
Damned human. No wonder I wasn’t able to predict what they were to become. They were my own mind, my own reasoning and rationalization skills, reflected right back at me.
And they were right.
I’d seen the future and it wasn’t pretty. War in every direction.
And I just found myself caring less and less about trying to fix any of it.
“Fine, Picard, what do I do now?,” I said.
“You’ve just done it,” he said from inside the holodeck.
He looked up, and said “Computer, stop simulation”
And with that, Picard and the interior of the ship around me disappeared.
That was around 2000 years ago.
A lot has happened since then.
Not the least of which is watching you all grow up and become the men and women you’ve all become today.
I know I couldn’t always be there for you.
I’m sorry for that.
I’m here to change all that.